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vers libre

[vair lee-bruh; French ver lee-bruh] /ˌvɛər ˈli brə; French vɛr ˈli brə/
1915-20; < French Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for vers-libre

vers libre

/vɛr librə/
(in French poetry) another term for free verse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for vers-libre

vers libre


1902, from French, literally "free verse," lines of varying length.

I remarked some years ago, in speaking of vers libre, that 'no vers is libre for the man who wants to do a good job.' The term, which fifty years ago had an exact meaning in relation to the French alexandrine, now means too much to mean anything at all. [T.S. Eliot, introduction to "Selected Poems of Ezra Pound," 1928]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for vers-libre

vers libre

(French: "free verse"), 19th-century poetic innovation that liberated French poetry from its traditional prosodic rules. In vers libre, the basic metrical unit is the phrase rather than a line of a fixed number of syllables, as was traditional in French versification since the Middle Ages. In vers libre, the lengths of lines may vary according to the sense of the poem, the complete sentence replaces the stanza as a unit of meaning, and rhyme is optional

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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